On the 24th April 1917 in Tiverton a baby girl called Elsie May Ashmore was born. She was the daughter of Bessie and George and was the eldest of 3 sisters. She married Reginald John Coles who worked for Knighthayes and later on for State yard. They had a large family of eight children consisting of 3 boys and 5 girls.
Times were hard in those days, especially when raising a family so Elsie had to supplement their income by working throughout her married life. She was an accomplished seamstress but her real passion was food. Elsie worked at the Palmerston Hotel and later on for Clapp’s Café with her best friend Nell. In her later years she found herself working in Rendell’s bakery where she found she had quite a knack for cake making and decorating. In her spare time Elsie and her friend Nell set up their own kitchen catering business, providing food for Stenner’s , Tiverton Town Council and Knightshaye’s Court to name but a few.
As I became a teenager and later as I grew up, I found myself helping out at these functions, washing dishes, waitressing, and alongside my mum Christina and cousins, generally mucked in until my Gran (or Nan as we called her) retired well into her late 60’s early 70’s. I am so proud to say Elsie May was my Grandmother.
Every day since it has closed, I have found myself walking past the old tourist information centre thinking what a dreadful waste of a lovely building, hoping that someone would do something with it. I never really considered it for myself, but one day I had this “light bulb moment” where I thought, well actually maybe I could do something… and what a better way than to create a lasting legacy for my children and grandchildren than a café/coffee shop called Elsie May’s. I hope you enjoy our lovely café and look forward to seeing you all again.
The legacy continues on………………..